By John Ndu 

Awka, Nov. 27, 2020 (MOI) Anambra State Government joined the commemoration of World Food Day by giving out cheques to no fewer than 6,000 farmers to enhance food security in the state and the nation. 

The World Food Day is a global celebration to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) founded in 1945; it provides a forum for all Nations to re-negotiate issues and actions against hunger. 

The event, which took place at Alex Ekwueme Square, also witnessed the launch of Anambra Agricultural Compendium, launch of Dry Season Farming and the distribution of threshers to rice cooperatives. 

The event also witnessed the presentation of cheques for CBN-funded Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to benefitting farmer cooperatives, performed by the Gov. Willie Obiano. 

The Governor, at the flag-off of the 2020 Dry Season Farming in state, said the event was coming at a time that the global economy was experiencing a downturn.  

He stressed that the event was crucial in cushioning the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the flood disasters that devastated many farmlands in various parts of Anambra State.  

Gov. Obiano noted that rice production in Anambra had risen from lowly, 80,000 metric tonnes per annum on assumption of office in 2014 to current all-time 440,000 metric tonnes per annum.  

According to the Governor, in the wake of the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, we responded promptly by launching the 2020 farming early enough in April.  

“This enabled our farmers to move in early into their farms. We also adopted other measures `Ugbo Azuno’ to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown.  

“All these measures ensured that Ndi Anambra provided enough food and ensure that the prices of food stuff remained stable. 

“My administration’s strategy of structuring agriculture as the number one pillar, placed it like a roaring flame. No one can hide them in a bushel. The statistics speak for themselves,’’ Gov. said emphatically. 

He adds: “Anambra has captured 118,929 farmers and 3,126 Co-operative Societies registered on the e-Agriculture Centre of the state.  

“More importantly, most of our farmers have made a swift transition from season farming to an all year-round farming with increasing use of irrigation and the adoption of global best practices in agriculture.  

“Our partnerships with major agro investors like Coscharis, JOSAN Agro Ltd., Stine Industries, Lynden Farms, Chelsea Farms, Ekcel Farms, Eagle Farms and other investors in the agro-allied sector have been hugely been successful, drawing the attention of the entire agricultural establishment in Nigeria to Anambra State.  

“Lyden Farms has continued to pull a massive weight in the livestock sector as the largest poultry farm in Southern Nigeria, having added a new facility with a capacity for holding 90,000 birds to its offerings.’’  

Meanwhile, Eagle Farms in Umuchu is blazing a trail in the commercial rearing of Efi Igbo, which has been widely applauded by the people as one of the creative ways to minimise the friction between herdsmen and farmers. 

“Awka-based Grafil Nigeria Ltd., has been exporting vegetables and other farm produce from Anambra to the U.S., while Tiger Foods in Onitsha continues to export our local but processed spices to other parts of West Africa.  

“Ndi b’anyi, we have succeeded in giving agriculture a prominent position in Anambra State. 

According to Gov. Obiano, we have also keyed into the World Bank assisted Project for Covid-19 Action Recovery Plans (CARES) Result Area 2 intervention programme targeted toward increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households. 

The Minister of Agriculture, represented by Mr Kelix Felix, who praised the state government for investing massively in the agricultural sector, explained that the ministry was ready to partner Anambra State in the sector. 

The Governor Central Bank of Nigerian, Mr Godwin Emefiele represented by Mr Sunday Ogbu maintained that the apex bank had established a good working relationship with the state government through SMEs to boost agriculture. 

Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, while explaining the celebration of the day noted it was aimed at celebrating industrial cluster farming for agric business sustainability. 

He expressed joy that the government had approved the implementation of the short term strategy designed by the ministry toward cushioning the effects of Covid-19 pandemic in the state. 

He maintained the adequate arrangements were in place to provide more access to capital intensive farm machineries for farmers to enable the state to meet the target of agricultural transformation agenda through land development and seed multiplication. 

Onukwuba observed that cassava production had increased from 172,900 metric tons in 2014 to 2,060,687 metric tons in 2020; this represents 1,092 per cent increase.  

“In addition, we are adding value to our rice and cassava through the provision of processing facilities in the rice and cassava producing clusters. 

“In order to ensure the target is achieved, Gov. Obiano has approved the immediate implementation of the CBN-funded accelerated agricultural development scheme of N1.5 billion in land development agriculture infrastructure and empowerment of youths and women.” (MOI)

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